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Ch 1: Introduction to Computer Hardware

About This Chapter

Study for a test that assesses your knowledge of computer hardware with help from this entertaining online chapter. Review short lessons to boost your comprehension of this subject, and take mini quizzes to assess your ability to excel on the test.

Introduction to Computer Hardware - Chapter Summary

This informative introduction to computer hardware can help you better understand computer architecture, mainframe systems, external and internal storage devices and more. Study the definitions, functions, parts and designs of computer hardware by reviewing our engaging lessons. When finished, you will be able to do the following:

  • Define a mainframe system
  • Describe the architecture of PCs, mobile devices and workstations
  • Exhibit knowledge of the parts and functions of computer systems
  • Discuss the design and function of the arithmetic logic unit (ALU) and central processing unit (CPU)
  • Explain the functions and characteristics of computer memory and processing devices
  • List and describe different types of computer output and input devices
  • Share details about external and internal storage devices
  • Detail how ASCII and Unicode represent characters in binary code

This chapter lets you review any lessons, navigate them in your sequence of choice and visit them as often as you'd like. If you have a busy schedule, enjoy the ability to study the lessons anytime using any computer, smartphone or tablet with an Internet connection. Before, during or after examining the lessons, feel free to assess your comprehension of their contents by taking multiple-choice quizzes. Use our practice exam to test your knowledge of the entire chapter.

12 Lessons in Chapter 1: Introduction to Computer Hardware
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
What is a Mainframe System?

1. What is a Mainframe System?

A mainframe computer is a very large computer capable of handling and processing very large amounts of data quickly. They are used by large institutions, such as government agencies and large corporations.

Computer Architecture: PCs, Workstations & Mobile Devices

2. Computer Architecture: PCs, Workstations & Mobile Devices

In this lesson, we will define computer architecture. We will then explore the differences between a PC, workstation, and mobile device architecture, and investigate why those differences are important.

Basic Computer Architecture Instruction Types: Functions & Examples

3. Basic Computer Architecture Instruction Types: Functions & Examples

This lesson examines bit manipulation, data manipulation and the functions of computer processes. It will explore how computers process input and output data and how it travels from the CPU to bus to register and then back again.

Computer System Components: Computer Parts & Functions

4. Computer System Components: Computer Parts & Functions

Are you ready to buy a computer? Let's take a trip through the components of a computer for some advice. We'll learn about the motherboard, memory, storage, connectivity and peripherals.

Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU): Definition, Design & Function

5. Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU): Definition, Design & Function

An arithmetic logic unit (ALU) represents the fundamental building block of the central processing unit of a computer. An ALU is a digital circuit used to perform arithmetic and logic operations.

Central Processing Unit (CPU): Parts, Definition & Function

6. Central Processing Unit (CPU): Parts, Definition & Function

The central processing unit (CPU) is the brain of your computer. It handles all the instructions you give your computer, and the faster it does this, the better. Learn about how a CPU processes instructions and how computer engineers are continuously coming up with ways to make it go faster.

Computer Memory and Processing Devices: Functions & Characteristics

7. Computer Memory and Processing Devices: Functions & Characteristics

Have you ever wondered how your computer operates - specifically, where it stores all the information it needs to run? This lesson will answer that question by explaining the general functions of the central processing unit (CPU), random-access memory (RAM) and read-only memory (ROM).

What Is Virtual Memory? - Definition, Settings & Management

8. What Is Virtual Memory? - Definition, Settings & Management

This lesson will help you understand your computer's virtual memory. You will learn the definition of virtual memory, why this technology is important, and how you can manage it on your computer.

Computer Output Devices: Monitors, Speakers, & Printers

9. Computer Output Devices: Monitors, Speakers, & Printers

So you've entered information into your computer. How do you get it back out? Here's a look at output devices such as monitors, speakers, printers and eBooks.

Computer Input Devices: Keyboards, Mice, Audio & Video

10. Computer Input Devices: Keyboards, Mice, Audio & Video

What input devices do you use on a daily basis? We'll take a look at the common keyboard and mouse devices as well as other methods of input like audio and video.

External and Internal Storage Devices: Optical, Magnetic & Semiconductor Storage

11. External and Internal Storage Devices: Optical, Magnetic & Semiconductor Storage

Let's explore the capacity of internal and external storage devices. We'll learn how optical, magnetic and semiconductor storage works, as well as identify some examples of storage devices.

ASCII and Unicode to Represent Characters in Binary Code

12. ASCII and Unicode to Represent Characters in Binary Code

A computer can think at speeds of over a billion machine cycles per second. However, no spoken language is a computer's native tongue. Learn how a computer translates analog to digital signals in this lesson.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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